The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

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    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
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    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
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    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
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    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
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    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
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    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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John Winzeler visits Poland 07.04.2007

Written by David Green.


Veterans of Heifer International study tours were all asked the same question: Why Poland?

Some had traveled to China to visit with farmers benefitting from Heifer’s assistance with cattle and rabbit production.

Others visited coastal regions of India to observe innovative livestock projects in post-tsunami areas.

They’ve witnessed milk production and fish farming projects in Tanzania, sustainable agriculture efforts among women’s groups in Kenya and urban agriculture start-ups in Peru.

So why, with exotic locales such as these, are travelers heading to Poland?

John Winzeler of rural Fayette admits that the farming region of northeast Poland might be considered an odd vacation destination by most people, but that was part of the draw for everyone participating on the study tour in May. It’s a part of the world they had never seen.

“And it’s absolutely beautiful,” John said following his return last month.

But as far as agriculture is concerned, the area can prove challenging.

Most land isn’t considered the best for growing crops. Glacial till has left a lot of rocks in the soil. A short growing season makes the area suitable for rye, oats and potatoes—none of the corn and beans that are familiar in this part of the world.

Poland is challenged by the high standards for milk production set by the European Union. Although it’s an excellent territory for sheep, the country can’t compete with New Zealand in the wool market.

The agricultural hardships have led to a variety of projects through Heifer International. More than three dozen are on-going this year. Like China where John visited in the past, the Polish government is eager to cooperate with development efforts.passing_gift

The recent study group landed in Warsaw and headed north to rehabilitation centers and orphanages.

The rehab centers house ex-convicts, homeless people and recovering addicts. Many of the orphanage children are known as “social orphans,” taken to the homes by their parents who can’t afford to raise them.

In both locations, Heifer is helping to establish agricultural projects to improve nutrition and and teach people practical job skills. Projects involve pigs, chickens and fish ponds. Organic farming efforts help fill a growing demand in Europe.

In farming communities to the east, a variety of needs were addressed, from establishing meat sheep breeds in the Podkarpacie region to buying pregnant Polish Red heifers—an almost extinct native breed —for families near Lipsk.

In the Heifer International tradition, the offspring of the animals are passed on to another family so the original gift keeps on giving.

In Dolhobrody along the Belarus border, farmers can’t afford equipment to work their small plots of land, so Heifer is providing draft horses.

“They seem to have a fondness for horses,” John said. “They have a bond with their animals that we don’t see much anymore.”

What he saw was reminiscent of what he’s read about American life from decades ago.

“It’s like turning the clock back one hundred years,” John said. “I think they’re very good at what they do, but they won’t get wealthy because they don’t own enough land.”

Heifer International’s goal is to make sure people can continue to make an adequate living while staying home on the farm.

Study tours provide a variety of benefits. They allow Heifer International to get first-hand reports on the success of its investments. Entertaining foreign guests leads to a source of pride for the people receiving livestock as they show off their farm.

“Every family wants you to come to their house,” John said. “The receptions we received were amazing, and these are not wealthy people.”

John enjoys the mix of fellow travelers on study tours. With varied backgrounds and an interesting mix of professional work, it becomes a case of “the more minds the better.” Everyone looks over a project and sometimes someone will come up with an idea for a better way of doing things.

Heifer International has a reputation for not sticking with something that doesn’t work, John said. Programs will be altered, if needed, for the best success.

“I’d like to go back in two years and see how things have changed,” John said.

With Heifer International’s help, things continue to change in locations all around the world.

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